We have the rarest of gifts the next two days. On Wednesday, there are two decisive Game 5s in the National League Division Series, one right after the other. And on Thursday, there will be a third, in the American League. It’s as close as MLB can get to March Madness, and to be honest, our left leg has been hopping up and down for about 30 hours now in anticipation. It’s baseball nirvana. It’s win or go home.
Feast your eyes on Charlie Morton's pitch movement. It's magic. You won't be able to stop watching.
The last time the Minnesota Twins won a playoff game, Shannon Stewart knocked in Michael Cuddyer for the go-ahead run, Jacque Jones homered, and Johan Santana threw seven scoreless innings as the Twins beat the Yankees in Game 1 of the 2004 ALDS. The next night, Hideki Matsui singled off J.C. Romero to score Derek Jeter in the 12th inning, and that was that for the next 15 years (and counting): The Twins have somehow found a way to lose every single postseason game since, one of sports’ cruelest and most unlikely streaks.
A defining characteristic of Major League Baseball’s 2019 season — beyond the record home run totals — is how predictable it was. Of the 15 teams with the lowest preseason playoff probabilities, per FiveThirtyEight’s predictions, only the Oakland A’s exceeded 50 percent playoff odds at any point in the season. (The A’s, who opened the season with the 16th-best playoff odds, are the only team from the bottom half of our preseason predictions to earn a postseason berth.)
The Boston Red Sox missed the playoffs, so there will be a new champion in 2019. Will the Houston Astros take home their second title in three years? Or can the Los Angeles Dodgers get over the final hurdle and take home their first championship since 1988? Or will it be a surprise team like the Washington Nationals or Minnesota Twins?
They’re not good at this, but no one is, and every major successful baseball franchise has some sort of spiritual wart attached. The Cubs are owned by certified lunatics, the Dodgers have blacked out their fans for years, the Cardinals spied on the Astros, the Astros tanked egregiously to get to respectability, the Sox aren’t great people-people and the Yankees, well, everything. So just know straight off I’m not terribly concerned with the purity of the enterprise, in that I consider this to be game among and for thieves at every level including the field of play, where it’s much harder because everyone is watching.
The New York Mets have struggled for the bulk of the 2019 season, at their worst 11 games under .500 and 14½ games behind in their division. But a three-week hot streak has inexplicably pulled the Mets into real, live playoff contention. As the Mets try to salvage what was once a lost season, let’s take a look at what is real and just how New York finds itself in this suddenly advantageous position.
Good news if you're a Tigers, Orioles, Mariners or Royals fan: You can start prepping for 2020! MLB released its 2020 schedule and here are some key dates to know.
The Houston Astros' acquisition of six-time All Star Zack Greinke at the final buzzer of the 2019 trade deadline turned the baseball world upside down. Heading into July 31, Houston already owned the best record in the American League and featured one of the best rotations in baseball. With the addition of Greinke and Aaron Sanchez, the 'Stros went from being tops in the league to, arguably, having one of the greatest rotations in baseball history.
There was another comeback, another celebration, another delirious crowd. It was just another night at Citi Field. The non-stop party in Flushing resumed Saturday night, as a sold-out crowd witnessed the hottest team in baseball pull off its eighth straight win, 4-3, over the Nationals, with a pair of eighth-inning runs. The Mets, who were 11 games under .500 just one month ago, have now won 15 of their past 16 games, marking their best run since 1990.
On Sunday, the Mets did two unusual things. If you want to be rude, you can include them sweeping a series from the Pittsburgh Pirates as a third, but the first two are more notable and also let’s be nice. One of those unusual things was that, in a departure from the norm, the team did not use a “Sunday lineup.” If you don’t know what that is, you have 1) followed baseball during the last three or four decades and 2) not followed the Mets. Sunday lineups, in which teams rested some number of regular starters, were once more common in baseball, but more or less every team in the league abandoned the practice long ago.
For Mariano Rivera, it was the culmination of a storied career, dreams of being the next Pele long since forgotten. For Brandy Halladay, the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony was a tearful moment to reflect on the accomplishments of her late husband, and she handled a difficult task admirably.
Come Sunday, July 21, the National Baseball Hall of Fame will induct this year's new class of members. There will be six new honorees of Cooperstown, including Harold Baines, the late Roy Halladay, Mike Mussina, Edgar Martinez, Mariano Rivera and Lee Smith. As part of a service to the community, we wanted to provide a primer ahead of the weekend's event.
The MLB trade deadline is steadily approaching, and many front office execs are wondering whether or not their team should buy or sell leading up to July 31. Is it really worth trading potential franchise prospects for a rental player?
Maybe it's something in the low-altitude Bronx air. On the night the Colorado Rockies visited Yankee Stadium for the first time in four seasons, a trio of former Rockies showed up, showed out and proved why the New York Yankees felt it was smart to acquire all three of them earlier this year. "It felt really good," current Yankees reliever and former Rockie Adam Ottavino said following New York's 8-2 win Friday night. "Everybody wants to perform well against familiar people."
The starters for the 2019 MLB All-Star Game were revealed late last month after fan voting, and the full AL and NL rosters have been known for more than a week. But, on Monday, we learned exactly how the starting lineups will look for the Midsummer Classic in Cleveland.
An intriguing mix of proven sluggers and rising stars will meet in the 2019 MLB Home Run Derby on Monday at 8 p.m. ET. The 2019 Home Run Derby bracket, seeded Nos. 1-8, includes 33-year-old third baseman Carlos Santana, who has home-field advantage at Progressive Field in Cleveland. He's listed at 7-1 Home Run Derby odds and will be one of the veterans trying to hold off youngsters like Ronald Acuna Jr. (age 21), Pete Alonso (24) and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who is the youngest participant ever in this event at 20. Sportsbooks list Pirates slugger Josh Bell, who has 27 homers this season, as the favorite at 7-2 in the current 2019 Home Run Derby odds after Christian Yelich withdrew with a back injury.
Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Odúbel Herrera was suspended without pay by Major League Baseball for the remainder of the season because he violated baseball's domestic violence policies, MLB said Friday. Commissioner Rob Manfred said the suspension is retroactive to June 24 and will cover 85 games and any postseason games the Phillies play.
Oakland Athletics pitcher Frankie Montas has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for Ostarine, a performance-enhancing substance banned by MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, the league announced Friday.
The Rays have received permission from Major League Baseball's executive council to explore a plan in which they would play home games in both the Tampa Bay area and Montreal, commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday.